Name: One-Forty｜Kevin Chen (陳凱翔)
Time of Establishment: 2015
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Did You Know?
One-Forty, founded by Kevin Chen, is a non-profit organization that is focused on providing education and community for migrant laborers from Southeast Asia working in Taiwan. The organization’s guiding philosophy is "Make Every Migrant’s Journey Worth and Inspiring," and in following this, it has cultivated the nation’s largest group of Southeast Asian migrant laborer learners, helping them greatly boost their employability upon their return home. The group also holds a variety of cultural exchange activities on a regular basis, with the hope of making Taiwan a more diverse, inclusive, and friendly society.
Kevin Chen, the founder of One-Forty, was born in 1989 in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and graduated from National Chengchi University with a degree in business management. After completing an exchange program at Peking University in China and living alone in the small town of Bacolod in the Philippines for three months, his experiences of being an outsider struck a chord with him as he contemplated the feelings of migrant laborers working in Taiwan. After returning to his homeland, Chen took up a position as a volunteer for an NGO that focuses on migrant workers in Southeast Asia, working as a Chinese language instructor. During this time, he became increasingly aware that in addition to facing difficult living circumstances, migrant laborers in Taiwan also found themselves unable to integrate into Taiwanese society, leaving them feeling alone and isolated.
In 2015, Chen called together a group of like-minded partners to found One-Forty. In 2016, Chen was named a recipient of the Keep Walking Grant, investing the money he received into the official launch of One-Forty’s operations. One-Forty has three major programs, namely the One-Forty School, Open Sunday, and Migrant Life Channel. The One-Forty School aims to give migrant workers the ability to transform their destiny through education and create new possibilities in life.
The One-Forty online teaching platform was established in 2017, with content designed to meet the particular needs of migrant workers from Southeast Asia through fieldwork and in-depth interviews. The group also runs monthly live streams to respond to questions that migrant laborers have encountered in their learning. Today, with over 70,000 participants, One-Forty has built Taiwan’s largest community of migrant laborer learners. Open Sunday, meanwhile, aims to establish friendly exchanges between Taiwanese and Southeast Asian migrant workers through the regular planning of various cultural exchange activities. Through these, the organization aims to truly open up dialogue between the two sides, helping Taiwanese to get to know the real face of Southeast Asia, and building a genuinely friendly Taiwanese society. The Migrant Life Channel, finally, is a creative media outlet that documents and disseminates migrant workers’ stories through a variety of innovative methods, including text, video, illustration, audio, and large-scale exhibitions, documenting the journeys of migrant workers.
In 2019, One-Forty launched the One-Forty Book & Host Project, an innovative educational program for migrant workers across Taiwan. Each year, the program distributes 1000 “learning package One-Forty” packages, giving migrant workers who are new to Taiwan free educational materials and online learning resources so that they can learn Chinese, get to know Taiwanese culture, build better communication skills for interacting with their employers, and feel the goodwill of Taiwanese people while they are at work. Migrant workers who apply for the One-Forty Book & Host Project not only receive a package of physical learning materials but are also enrolled in an exclusive online learning community, with online educational videos and live online teaching by teachers who speak their languages for a year-long distance learning course. The One-Forty Book & Host Project also won an award from the Ministry of Culture’s Youth Village Cultural Development Project. The project also won the Golden Pin Design Award for Social Design of the Year in 2020 and the Japanese Good Design Gold Award in 2021.
Over the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire world, changing the lives of countless people and altering how industries operate. One-Forty is no exception, having begun to experiment with more flexible and innovative ways of doing things. For example, since it is difficult for migrant workers to obtain information about the pandemic in Taiwan, One-Forty launched the One-Forty CARE Chatbot, which translates the latest pandemic information from the CDC and disseminates it to migrant workers in Taiwan on a daily basis. The Ministry of Labor launched an official version based on this initiative. Such results have inspired the team to reflect, ultimately deciding to open up and share resources from 2022 onwards, hoping that the government will see the potential in their plans and incorporate them into the system for the purpose of promoting positive change in society.
(Photo Credit: One-Forty)